From the Grammys® to charity LeAnn Rimes has done it all

LeAnn Rimes
Singer, songwriter, producer, author, actress and philanthropist LeAnn Rimes appears to have accomplished it all. Photo by Sarah Herel

An introspective conversation with LeAnn Rimes

Singer, songwriter, producer, author, actress, philanthropist; at only 37 years-old LeAnn Rimes appears to have accomplished it all. Beginning her career at the ripe age of nine years old, LeAnn has experienced an excess of highs and lows within the entertainment industry. From achieving the most successful song of the 1990s with “How Do I Live” and placing over 40 singles on American and International charts alike to authoring four books and releasing ten studio albums; LeAnn Rimes has cemented herself as a music industry icon.

LeAnn Rimes
LeAnn Rimes photo by Sarah Herel

Nevertheless, the tabloids fixation with her divorce from ex-husband Dean Sheremet and marriage to Eddie Cibrian thereafter nearly overshadowed and jeopardized Rimes career at the time. Now, rising from the ashes like a phoenix, with a new live album (Rimes: Live at Gruene Hall), movie (Hallmark’s It’s Christmas Eve) and tour (You And Me And Christmas), LeAnn Rimes is a testament that true talent can always persevere.

At only 37 years-old you have sold over 44 million albums worldwide and won two Grammy® Awards; 12 Billboard Music Awards; two World Music Awards; three Academy of Country Music Awards; one Country Music Association Award and one Dove Award. Has it been a challenge to maintain success with all of the changes which taken place within the music industry over the past decade especially in light of streaming?

LeAnn Rimes: I can go pretty deep on this question (laughs). At the end of the day it boils down to what success means to you, which is a question I’ve had to continually ask myself. There is the numbers game, which I’ve played most of life. This game has been wonderful, and the industry has been kind, yet right now it comes down to what is feeding me creatively. Today, I am more focused on how I can expand the use of my voice as a singer, writer, actress and philanthropist. In hindsight, there was a time where I tried to chase the success I had when I was so young, which was probably the most excruciating time in my life, because I later realized I was doing myself a disservice by not living in the moment, nor experiencing the other successes which were right in front of me. The music industry is rediscovering itself and I feel I am doing the same in my own world. I am at a wonderful place in my life in that I can create whatever I wish at this moment in time which is a scary place to be albeit a really expansive place to be.

Looking back at your career, what would you say has been your biggest accomplishment, and what has been your biggest regret, if any?

LR: Honestly, my biggest accomplishment is surviving. Being in the public eye from adolescence has been a wild ride; most of the artists who began their career as young as I did are no longer here. When I started thinking about this, it became clear one of my biggest accomplishments, if not my biggest, is being on the other side of life especially after having fallen all the way to the bottom personally, and picking myself up as gracefully as I could have, and to now be thriving professionally. There is a big difference between surviving and thriving, and at one point I realized I needed to make the shift. Moving on, I do not like the word regret. While I do think there is some regret which lingers looking back at certain situations, I try to learn from everything that has happened. I think if we can learn from our mistakes and shortcomings; there isn’t really room for regret because ultimately there was a reason, a purpose, for that. I try to look at different situations in my life which may have been less than favorable with the aforesaid outlook.

You have achieved a plethora of success on the dance charts. With that in mind, have you considered releasing a record from scratch, not remixes, which is exclusive to the dance genre?

LR: Yes! Absolutely, that is something I’ve discussed over the past couple of years. It’s funny, I have so many records I can make on my plate right now, which is awesome to have that creativity flowing, and this concept is definitely one on my mind. You may receive such in the coming years.

You just embarked on the You And Me And Christmas Tour which includes three shows in the tri-state area. What can we expect from these performances? Are you going to be infusing your hits within the setlist or is it limited to holiday classics?

LR: The tour is a fusion of both. While the show is heavily holiday based, we weave my hits in and out of the setlist. It is fun to be able to play around with all of these Christmas songs especially being as I have released four holiday albums and EPs. There is a lot of music to choose from which makes it difficult to narrow it down to one show. We get to play around with different arrangements of songs and all sorts of elements; I have a great rapport and conversation with the audience. There is a lot of audience interaction and discussion about the songs, holidays, etc.; attendees are not just sitting down. This is such a beautiful heartwarming experience for me, and I hope the audience walks away in a different headspace than they walked in, which is what I am hoping for with this tour.

In addition to starring in the Hallmark film It’s Christmas Eve, you also executive produced the movie. While you are very hands on with your music career in terms of being a songwriter and producer, have you considered getting involved in the production side of television or film?

LR: Yes, it is something I definitely enjoy doing, and I really got to expand in that area even more with the last Hallmark movie I did. We are actually working on a new project right now I am producing which should be released in the next year. I am involved in pitch meetings and all facets of the process, which goes hand in hand with my music, it is just a new medium and creative space. It is nice to be able to have that creative control and build a project from the ground up.

You have been extremely philanthropic recently winning the Ally of Equality Award by the Human Rights Campaign for over 20 years of support for equal rights as well as becoming more involved with The Trevor Project. Of all the charities you have been involved in, which are you most passionate about?

LR: That is a really difficult question. I feel I am very passionate about LGBT affairs as an overall avenue where I put my time and share my voice. My uncle passed away from AIDS when I was 11. There are a lot of topics which are now normal table conversation which we did not discuss back then. Growing up in the south, there was so much stigma surrounding my uncle. It was mind blowing to me. I never understood it which is what pushed me to lend my voice to LGBT rights. I truly do believe in equality for everyone which is something I am very vocal about. There is not solely one charity which takes precedent over the other. It comes down to which charity I can get involved in the most.

After years of feuding within the media, it appears you, your husband Eddie Cibrian and ex-wife Brandi Glanville are all at peace, and getting along. Is this still the case, and if so, was it difficult to accomplish?

LR: Yes (laughs) no one is going to lie about that! Time is a great healer. I can only speak for myself; I don’t even speak for my husband and definitely not Brandi on this. I think I did my own inner work to exist and coexist within a blended family. That is my message to anybody who is in a blended family. You can’t change anyone else. And you can only be responsible and change your inner world for yourself. I found when I started shifting myself, everything else shifted along with that. All it takes is one person to kind of change the energy of the group and good things follow. I definitely took responsibility for my own self, and that made it a lot easier than to focus on everyone else outwardly. If anyone is in a blended family, that would be my biggest piece of advice.

Will Loschiavo is Out In Jersey's entertainment editor. Will has worked on air for Top 40 radio stations in New York and New Jersey and written for various publications. Will is the host of the Will Love Listen podcast available on Spotify, Apple iTunes, and iHeartRadio. Follow on Instagram: @WillLoveInc